Grace is an extremely smart, loving, and athletic 2-3 year old, cattle dog and border collie mix with a real desire to work. She weighs 38 lbs., and is a moderate energy girl. Grace is shy at first; but once you gain her trust, she is extremely affectionate and will dive into your arms, kiss your face, and then tuck her head under your chin and paw at you for more love. Being close to and loved by her person, is what Grace wants more than anything else. She doesn’t play with most toys, but does enjoy playing tug of war with a rope toy. Tug can be used a training reward and a way to build a special bond with her person.
Grace’s fosters have been working with her every day on training, and to socialize her. She is as smart as they come, eager to please, and a fast learner, who loves her training sessions. She loves to trick-train and knows approximately 30 cues. Some of her favorites include: rebounding off of walls, jumping over hurdles, spinning (clockwise and counterclockwise), and performing a figure-8 around her handler’s legs. She usually learns tricks within 10 repetitions (less than a minute); at which point, a hand signal can be introduced. Within a few training sessions, the trick can be put on a verbal cue.
Grace was given a herding aptitude test through Herding 4 Ewe. The trainer said that with a patient handler, she could definitely be a good working herder. Grace loves to climb and balance on objects. Her fosters have been utilizing the Fitpaws Donut and Paw Pods as a way to provide a work out and increase her confidence.
When Grace’s foster family first found her, she was very fearful. For the first few weeks, she army crawled throughout their house because she was afraid of the ceiling (it was likely her first time being inside). She would freeze and then react if she saw a stranger (person or dog) in the distance (over 400 ft. away). She could not be in the same room with other dogs, and would even bark/react to dogs through a baby gate.
In the few months that she has spent with her fosters, she has progressed a great deal. On leashed walks, she is able to walk within 30 feet of other dogs and15 feet of strange humans, and still remain focused on her handler. If another dog barks at her, especially from behind a fence/barrier she will definitely bark back. She is alarmed by quick movements and wants to chase. She also reacts this way with squirrels and cats encountered on walks. With more rewards based training, she can learn to remain calm during these types of distractions.
Grace is basically a submissive dog, who has only started learning how to live with other creatures in the past few months. She is continuing to improve, but still has some issues being around other dogs, especially when the dogs are moving/playing. She can be in the same room with other dogs, but she tries to herd them if they move around too much. For this reason, she would do best in a home with no other dogs, or a much older dog, or a home where she could be kept separate from other dogs for a while in order to provide a slow introduction.
During most of the day, she is in the house, where she is most relaxed and happy. Grace is calm in the house. When Grace isn’t training or loving her people, she hangs out quietly in her crate. She is always crated while her fosters are away. Her crate is her safe space, and should be a part of her forever home. Because Grace is a world-class athlete, she cannot be left unattended in a backyard. She could easily climb over (or dig under) a 6 ft. fence.
Grace is completely housebroken, and may hold it for hours, if she is someplace where she is not comfortable. Grace is also getting more relaxed on car rides, since nearly all her rides have been to do fun things. We recommend that she ride in a crate when in the car.
Grace is usually a very quiet girl, who just wants to hang out with her people and work with them. The only times can be a bit barky is when she is working on new tricks, and when her people leave her. She will bark for a few minutes when her people leave, but quickly quiets down.
We believe that Grace would be be happy in a home with a small yard and a person who enjoys training activities. Grace is NOT recommended for someone with an active (running, hiking) lifestyle, or who wants to take her everywhere with them. Since Grace is just now learning to meet people without panicking, we do not recommend her for a home with children, who can make sudden unpredictable moves.
Grace’s ideal forever home should:
- provide plenty of time for her to bond with her person/people.
- be patient and not force her to do anything that she isn’t comfortable doing.
- provide plenty of mental and physical stimulation, either through trick training, agility sports, or by giving her a job.
- limit her exposure to high-distraction environments. Quiet country life would be best. Busy neighborhoods/urban living/dog parks are NOT for her.
In summary, Grace is a sweet, loving girl, with incredible potential, who has had some extreme unknown trauma in her past. She needs plenty of TLC, patience, reassurance, time, encouragement, and slow positive exposure to new things, to learn how to be happy and confident. Grace is making excellent progress with her fosters, but her adopter(s) will need to continue the work. She is NOT for a novice dog owner.
If you are interested in meeting Grace, please first complete our adoption questionnaire (online form or download a hard copy). At our website (hittgv.org), click on the Adopt tab near the top of the page, and scroll down for the online Adoption Form. You can also email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have specific questions.
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